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Monday, March 27, 2017

Thank you, IRCC !

The closer it drew, the more I'd been looking forward to the change of scenery a day-long professional development event would provide. The conference was funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada; the organizing committee, made up of people from each of several service agencies around the city, didn't disappoint.

Paul Huschilt warmed us up for the day and got us feeling silly with the Seven Humour Habits for Workplace Wellness; he was an absolute riot. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend him to anyone planning a conference.

Morning sessions focused on the wellness of the frontline worker; that's us. Since I have completed a course in Reiki, I thought "The Healing Arts for Personal & Organizational Wellness TM " might be a bit redundant. I've attended Maria Margaritis' recent webinar and am lucky enough to have her right in the next classroom from mine, so I chose to let someone else have a seat in "Practical Approaches to PTSD." Compassion fatigue isn't a concern for me right now, so I kept reading on down the list of options. The last workshop was "Live, Love & Laughter," which sounded a tad cheesy, but online political squabbles have me feeling in need of some lightening up these days. I enjoyed Rosemary Heenan's session a great deal. I appreciate that she made us do the work rather than just explaining the benefits of such things as deep breathing, visualization, and counting one's blessings. The last few minutes were spent on laughter yoga.

As always, the culinary arts students did a great job on the luncheon. And anyway, who doesn't appreciate a free meal?

I had not read over my program completely and was surprised when the MC announced that Lieutenant-General, the Honourable Roméo Dallaire was giving the keynote address! I had never had the privilege of hearing him in person before, and wow! He was riveting. I don't know how HE avoids compassion fatigue after all the years he has spent watching people slaughter each other, watching children starve, and all the other types of senseless mayhem that U.N. forces go in to mitigate.

After his talk and the question period, we had break-out sessions based on sector. All the English teachers went to "PBLA-Aligned Assessment Toolkit" by Adrienne Horvath Cortes of Conestoga College and two colleagues. I was pleased to get to attend this since I hadn't been able to get into the same session in Toronto this past fall yet have been trying to muddle through figuring out how to use their bank of ready-made rubric templates for a few weeks now.

I'm happy to report that all my concerns and questions were answered. I now fully understand how to use them. Even before today, I was finding that the more I use them, the faster it goes getting them ready. Now I know that I've not been doing everything in the optimal or intended way, so I'm looking forward to correcting those errors the next time around. The best news? Yes, they are working on a set for literacy: foundations, CLB 1L, 2L and 3L. Yay!

Today's mini-conference was one of the best organized PD events I've been to. So thank you, IRCC and organizers. Encore, encore!

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